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Can you believe it? July 31, 2018

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It’s been 7 years since the last post on this blog!!! Let’s get caught  up shall we? Here’s a summary of what transpired in the last 7 years…

I grew up… as an individual and a nurse. I got older… I’m 46 now and have a dash of pepper in my hair, although most of my colleagues say I look the same when we meet each other again after so many years. I left the crew of 5 West and took the twists and turns of the road. After leaving 5 West I worked in the ICU for a couple of years, then at another hospital in hopes of being part of the EMR launch team. Took a night shift job at a local LTACH as a PRNer, then a full timer, then eventually transitioned to the Infection Control Nurse position working days now, and after a few more years ended up as the Director of Quality for an LTACH. While all of this is happening, Obama ended his 8 years in office, Trump got elected in a landslide, ISIS got defeated, the country got divided, snowflakes started popping up, people are still confused on which restroom to use, and RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA is still in the news. Wow… what a journey. Quite frankly in all of this I can hardly recognize myself, let along the country. We are living in interesting times, and like the saying goes, “It’s good to be alive!”.

For those of you who followed this blog, thank you! I apologize for the disappointment and the absence for all those years. Life has a way of sucking the life out of you, but they were good growing years. Social media has changed a whole lot and things aren’t as thy used to be. I’m sure some of us have made money from our blogs. I haven’t, and I really don’t care, but as thoughts enter my head and I reflect, so will the pages be filled. Looking back I saw this young, passionate, naive, green horn of a nurse who just wanted the best for his patients, 5 or 6 patients at a time. I’ve changed… hopefully for the better… because now I’m older, have more experience, and in charge of system wide quality of care. I do still have that passion in me that wants the best for my patients, but this time, I’m in a position to effect real change. I just thank the Lord for answered prayers, and the opportunity to serve Him in a different capacity. The frolicking days of youth are over and I’ve moved on to serious matters, nevertheless, I find humor in them once in a while, and this is what I hope I could convey. Thank you again and happy reading!


Hello?… Are you still there? May 15, 2011

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.

Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve made any entries on this so-called blog of mine. The last entry I see was back in November of 2010, can you believe it?! At the moment, I am undergoing transition in my life that has significantly rearranged my priorities. Time has a way of making you stop, look back, reconsider, and plan for the future. Looking at the present and the not so distant future, I came to realize that we have but a short time, and unfortunately, we are not getting any younger. What we have missed in the past is long gone. The time to start something, if we were to start anything at all, would be now! Now’s the time to be happy… now’s the time to live healthy… now’s the time to celebrate life. I’ve always wondered why people say “Life begins at 40!”. In 2 years, I will get there. I’ve never understood what that saying meant until now. I guess we get so busy “building a career” in our 20s and 30s, we forget that there is life to live. Then it dawns on us by the time we hit 40, that life is too short to squander in trivial pursuits. Talk about a rude self-realization awakening! Thus, I find myself at the cross roads of my life… performing a self assessment of my last 39 years spent on this earth…. and like the great King Solomon said, “…vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” (Ecc 1:2). Well… enough said…. moving on… nothing to see here.

Having said what I’ve said, I’ve decided to steer this blog onto a whole new direction. Of course, you might see an occasional rant here and there, however, I’ve decided to share my life experiences and hopefully extract the lessons I’ve learned to helps someone that may be traveling the same road. Looking back at my life, I could say that I would have been better off if I had a guide, nevertheless, I believe it’s not too late to change course. Thus, we shall pick up where we left off and head out in a whole new direction, and hopefully the path we blaze can help others find their way… here goes…

Got EMR? November 1, 2010

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Yeah yeah… this is the new slogan at our hospital. After going live 3 weeks ago, the dust has settled and the frustration level has died down. Overall I’d say things are starting to get better… nurses are getting used to the new system and how things are done, however, some things just don’t change. Unfortunately, we still have the same old problems when it comes to pharmacy services. The same old system breakdown that exists prior to going live just got a whole lot bigger. I guess if you don’t fix a broken system before going electronic, the same problems will pop up time and time again.

I just don’t get it though. I’m sure you’ve had similar problems with pharmacy services… you know, missing meds, late deliveries, bad customer service. It would seem like whenever you ask for meds the person at the other end of the line sound irritated. Quite frankly I’ve never seen anything like it. You’d figure pharmacy would be your best friend, not so in this case. How many times would we have to make that phone call for us to get our meds on time? Maybe they should start hiring people from Walmart, at least they get the shelves stocked with goods and deliveries come as fast as you can say Kilimanjaro!

If there’s any pharmacy people out there, I’d like you to enlighten me with why it seems like pharmacy services suck especially down here in deep South Texas. In my opinion, pharmacy is the number department that gives nurses a lot of grief… and why? In the battlefield of healthcare, nurses are the marines, pharmacy is the navy. We can’t fight if we don’t get our supplies or ammo in time. One time I had to tell a pharmacist, “I hope that one day you’re not the one in a hospital bed twisting in pain because pharmacy couldn’t deliver your morphine on time”… and that goes for all pharmacists out there too!

Happy 35th Birthday Sweetie! October 13, 2010

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My Sweetie turned 35 today. Could you believe it? There’s nothing like spending the rest of the day celebrating with the one you love. Fortunately for me I was off today, however, I did work the night before so we had to ditch the grand celebration for a quiet one at a local restaurant.

I remember when I turned 35 my Sweetie told me, “you’re getting old”. I told her, “yes I am, however, like wine I get better with age”.  As always, in life there are some things you can’t control, like aging, however, you can control how you age by getting better through the years. Today was a day for us to look back an see how we’ve grown… and believe me, we’ve grown a whole lot… and no, I”m not talking about packing the pounds, although it seems like the older we get, the bigger we get, doesn’t it?

Oh well, I guess you can’t have it all…. At least my Sweetie was able to get her cake and eat it too!

Protected: It’s been a while… October 5, 2010

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Happy Memorial Day… Is that an oxymoron? May 30, 2010

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Is there anything “happy” about remembering someone’s death?

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything of value on this blog. Not wanting to apologize to the readers (if I still have any) all I can say is, I’m sorry for not writing anything lately. I’ve seen the blog stats and although I’m thrilled to see the numbers off the charts, I know it was a bit of a disappointment for most readers since the last entry was back in March. Yes, I too was a victim of poor time management (mainly my fault), and with all the transitions taking place in my life (the job change, finishing my BSIT, catching up with the mortgage, etc.), I find myself less inclined to immortalize my thoughts and focus more on living. Although I’m sure I’ll be able to make up for time lost… have a few interesting encounters these last couple of months. It’s a good thing I don’t blog for a living, I would have been fired by now!

My wife and kids decided to take a drive down South Padre Island to see the sun set. We were surprised to see an island packed with people. Cars, motorcycles, trucks, tailgate parties, etc. We soon realize that it was Memorial Day weekend… a long weekend at that. How did we forget? I guess this is the consequence of not having any cable TV (story on that later).

Yes, it is Memorial Day on Monday, the last Monday in may, formerly known as “Decoration Day“. As I look around, I noticed that stores had “Memorial Day” sales signs, people were partying, and the general tone was festive. Reading its history I found out that this was a day to remember those who lost their lives during the war… initially to honor the Union soldiers who lost their lives during the American Civil War. Eventually this was expanded to include all who died in America’s wars. If this were the case, shouldn’t this day be a solemn day?

I’m not talking about “religious” solemn day, more like a “quiet” day to remember and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. None of that “Memorial Day Sale” stuff… none of that “Memorial Day Party” stuff (unless the deceased love to party of course). Just a day of quiet to honor those who died. Would it be inappropriate to say “Happy Memorial Day”?

I guess we can say we are happy because we enjoy the freedoms we enjoy. Not happy that people had to die for it, however, with great sacrifice comes great reward… and for now, we are enjoying that reward. As for me, I wouldn’t “celebrate” this day with parties or store sales, but rather, with a humble and solemn attitude, to HONOR those who lost their lives, so that we can live free. Where’s the HONOR in taking advantage of that sale and getting a great deal on a big screen TV? Wouldn’t that cheapen their sacrifice? Therefore, I boycott all stores holding Memorial Day Sales during Memorial Day. I know the economy is bad, but not bad enough that we need to commercialize something that was meant to be a day of remembrance.

Am I nuts to think this way? Is there any justification for me to go to a Memorial Day Sale or Memorial Day party when the loved ones of those deceased visit their graves? How would you “celebrate” this day? Personally, I do not have any loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice, however, I do empathize with those who did. I’ve been around death and dying enough to know that to lose someone is one of the most tragic of life’s events. I had that fear recently when my wife ended up in the ER (that’s another story). Nevertheless, regardless of how you celebrate “Memorial Day”, I hope it is done in HONOR of those who gave their lives.

Have a Great Memorial Day everyone!

A New Adventure… March 23, 2010

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Alas, I’m alive again!

It’s been almost two full months since I’ve touched this blog and I’m sure for some of you who happened to find it, might think that I’ve gone of to infinity and beyond. Well, that would be nice… someday when our Lord comes, but for now, I’m here to stay.

After five years of serving the people of McAllen at MMC, I’ve decided to move on. The last few weeks were transition weeks for me. My job hunt has been over and somehow I feel like the Lord has once again opened up doors of opportunity. The last interview I had was for a Quality Management position at a local LTAC where I’ve interviewed up the corporate ladder from the Director of Nurses, to the CEO, and eventually to the corporate Director of Clinical Services, and all I got was, “Are you sure you want this job? In the last 2 years 4 people have held the position and one of them had to quit because her angina came back.” (This lady apparently had a heart condition and the job stress triggered her chest pains. Her doctor told her that if she continued employment, she would die!). Despite that, I told them “Yes I want the job.” A few weeks later I got a letter from the CEO telling me they considered someone for the position. Ironically, the CEO no longer works for the company. I think they gave him the boot because of poor performance. Good luck to you sir, it was a pleasure meeting you! By the way, the Quality Manager’s position is still open.

Currently I’m undergoing orientation. I’m still serving the people of McAllen, however, on the other side of town at a hospital owned by doctors. You probably heard of the place, they were in the news a few times last year during the heated healthcare debates. Regardless of what you may hear, this place in my opinion gives excellent care. I know, I work here now! But seriously, I think they are doing a pretty good job taking care of their patients. Where could you find a hospital down here in the Rio Grande Valley that offers valet parking? How about flowers for every new admit (although I’m kinda iffy about this since it may trigger allergic reactions) nevertheless, flowers! Where else could you find a hospital down here that delivers news papers everyday, for every patient. And check this out, where else could you find a hospital down here that takes meal orders where a representative from the dietary department comes to your room everyday and based on your diet asks you, “what would you want to eat today?”, then they prepare that for you like you were in a restaurant. Or how about all private rooms that look like a hotel, with large shower rooms, a love seat that turns into a bed for your overnight family member, and hospital beds that have bed alarms and weighing scales. The hallways are spacious, and the reception area looks like you just entered a 5 start hotel. Unbelievable! Of course at the end of the day all these things don’t matter. What’s important is that the patients get the care they deserve, and they do, because for the first time in 5 years, I’ve found a place where the people who work there actually do care.

Well what can I say? I do miss the ICU, however, for now, this is a good break from all that SERVICE EXCELLENCE nonsense that seem to elude MMC. Funny, when I first started with them they said that they wanted to be the Ritz-Carlton of healthcare. “It’s better at Motel 6” said a patient to me one day as I started off at 5 West. I guess MMC should learn from DHR, and see what a Ritz-Carlton of healthcare should look like. Quite frankly, I don’t mind doctor owned hospitals making a profit, as long as they take care of their staff, and more importantly their patients. What concerns me are hospitals that care more about their stocks or share holders than their staff or patients, and I think it’s about time that changed. For now, everything is good. I guess we’ll just have to see what the future holds. I do have a good feeling about it though, and I know the future looks bright. Wish me luck…

Just 5 Years Old Today! January 3, 2010

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Today marks my 5th year of serving the people of McAllen, TX at MMC. Wow, time sure flies when you’re having fun.

It’s been 5 years since the first day of orientation at MMC. I remember the first time I entered into that orientation classroom. I thought “this is going to be great”, at first. The people here seem to be friendly enough, and they seem to have great attitudes. Well, I was wrong once my classroom orientation days were over and I had to step onto the Telemetry floor for the first day of clinical orientation. Boy was that an eye opener. People had cr*ppy attitudes and the SERVICE EXCELLENCE scam was just it… a scam. I’ve never seen anything like this before. They told us that MMC was the Ritz-Carlton of healthcare… not so… one patient even said “the service is better at Motel 6”. SERVICE EXCELLENCE? What SERVICE EXCELLENCE? Is there such a thing? Well, that was 5 years ago. It’s different now because I’m here!

In the last 5 years, I would say that this place, McAllen and MMC, is a lot better because I’M HERE! Pharmacy services is better because I’M HERE! Patients appreciate the nursing care they receive because I’M HERE! My co-workers have better attitudes because I’M HERE! Well, it also helped when those that had cr*ppy attitudes left, all because, you’ve guessed it, I’M HERE! Heck, even OPUS, the Rolls Royce of EMR (they said) is better because, (everyone together now), I’M HERE!… I’M HERE, I’M HERE, I’M HERE, and that’s why, in the last 5 years, this place is better because I’M HERE!

Now, before you start saying, “Humbug!”, let me ask you this… Is the place you’ve worked for the last 5, 10 or 15 years better becuase YOU’RE THERE?, or did it take a turn for the worse because YOU’RE THERE? Did your co-workers find the workplace better because YOU’RE THERE? Or do they dread coming to work because YOU’RE THERE? Do your patients prefer your hospital because YOU’RE THERE? Or would they rather jump off a bridge because YOU’RE THERE? If you can answer yes to the first set of questions then I guess you need to take a look at yourself and do some deep down soul searching. As for me, I know the place I’m at is better because I’M HERE!

Egos aside, I’m sure if you’re like me, you’re proud to be where you are. Nevertheless, nothing lasts forever, and nothing is more permanent in this world than change. So I guess after 5 years of serving the people of McAllen at MMC, it’s time to move on. Unfortunately, job searching is not as easy as it sounds. With the projected 800,000 nursing jobs available, I’m surprised to find that even jobs in the Rio Grande Valley for nurses are in short supply. I don’t know if hospitals don’t hire people because they don’t know them, or that they are not really desperate for nurses at this time. All I know is, I’ve applied at several area hospitals and I would still have to hear from them. As far as I know, I guess this is God’s ways of telling me, “Your work at MMC is not done yet, I’ve got greater plans for you”. Or, His way of saying, “I’m not done working on you at MMC yet, so stay put until you learn your lesson”. Either way, I’m thankful I have my job at MMC. What lesson He is trying to teach me, I still have to figure out. One thing’s for sure, He is teaching me patience… and that my friend is the hardest lesson of all in my opinion. 🙂

Happy New Year! January 3, 2010

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Happy New Year!

Yes, this is two days late. It’s been a while since I’ve picked up the proverbial pen and made an entry on this so called blog. Some people would say, “better late than never”, however, I would say that we’ve only just begun. 2009 is behind us, 2010 is here, and although we’ve had more downs than ups since Nov 5 of ’08, I’m optimistic that 2010 will be a great year… not because the stimulus package has worked, or that we are living in Obamanation, but because for the second time, America, the sleeping giant has awaken from its slumber. Hopefully it will stay awake long enough to get back on track… then we can sleep again until some Chicago politician decides he is the annointed one and stir some cr*p. Yup, pocket change we can believe in.

Kidding aside, we did something diffferent this year. My Sweetie decided that we would be out this year instead of staying home and waiting for the clock to strike 12. Yup, we missed the ball drop in Times Square, however, we did catch the fireworks display at South Padre Island, TX. It was cold, a chilling 54 degrees F in deep south Texas, at the shore of the Gulf of Mexico with a cold breeze coming from the north. Thankfully we were prepared with our thick jackets in layers, scraves, beanies, lawn chairs, cameras, and snacks.

As we counted down to zero, it began, fireworks galore. We were fortunate to have “front row seats” (being there 2 hours early is an advantage). You can feel it in your chest as the rockets shoot up and explode in a dazzling array of lights in splendid colors. My 6 year old who was asleep earlier is now wide awake. You can hear the crowd’s silence amid the bang and crackle from the fireworks dispay. The ahs, oohs, and wows as each rocket shot up and exploded in balls of light attest to the crowd’s delight. Then, it was over. After 15 minutes of welcoming 2010 with a bang, it was time to pack up and go home. Overall, it was awesome.

As we face the new year and reflect on the one that just passed, I hope we take time to thank God for the blessings He has given us like family, friends, a job, a home, our car, food, clothing, and shelter. And although we probably want more than we have (who doesn’t), being grateful for what we do have is better than complaining.

On this note, I just want to take this time to thank God for the blessings and wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year. May God bless you and your family this 2010. And if you’re an atheist, tough luck, sucks to be you! 🙂

It’s Christmas… Christmas… December 19, 2009

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Ah, Christmas… that time of the year when we spread good cheer and rush to get our holiday shopping done before all the good gift items are sold out… that time where we plan those parties and gift exchanges… that time when we dust off the old tree and decorate it with ornaments, candy cane, and lights… that time of the year when all they play on the radio are Christmas carols and songs about reindeers, Santa, and snow. Yup, Christmas.

I remember growing up as a child, we always looked forward to Christmas… after all, school’s out, we get to eat good food, and most of all, we get to open presents from  under the tree. There was this one Christmas when I was about 7 years old, I did something bad that really upset my mom. I don’t remember what I did, but I remember that I was sobbing profusely asking her to forgive me because I didn’t want to be on Santa’s “naughty” list. 😦 I hate to admit it, but yes, we thought Santa was real. 🙂 So much for that…

I don’t know about you, but as I got older, the “magic” of Christmas seem to fade. And through the years, what’s supposed to be a season of “joy” becomes a season of stress… Is the tree up yet? Did we get presents for everyone on the list? What do I need to bring for our Christmas party? Did we mail out the all the Christmas cards yet? And to make matters worse, we’re in a recession, millions are jobless, and the future has never been so uncertain as it is today. Where did the “magic” go? What changed? Is it true, that the “joy” of Christmas is directly proportional to the balance in your bank account?

As I thought about this, I realize that the “magic” has always been there. What changed was my attitude towards Christmas. As we get older, we lose the innocence of a child and all of a sudden, the demands of life gets to us. Christmas isn’t “fun” anymore… we get “Christmas burnout”… unfortunately, we tend to focus on the wrong things and it sucks the joy out of the season… not to mention the fact that it is true… the “joy” of Christmas is directly proportional to the balance of your bank account! 🙂

I’ve decided that I need an attitude adjustment. I’ve decided not to be stressed during this time of year. I’ve decided that Christmas will be a greater celebration at our house. It will be a celebration of Jesus’ birth… it will be a celebration of His love for us, that despite the fact that we are but a speck in this vast universe, that He came down, as a baby so that He can make the ultimate sacrifice to save us from eternal separation from Him. It will be a celebration of His mercy and kindness which we would also extend to our fellow men. It will be a time where the family gets together, to look back and count the blessings God has given us throughout the year, and to look forward with great anticipation for the year ahead because…

For to us a child is born,
       to us a son is given,
       and the government will be on his shoulders.
       And he will be called
       Wonderful Counselor,  Mighty God,
       Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6